Manager's Comments

Aug 19th on the Rangers (BetFred) Post-Match:    - Match Recap -

Aug 18th on the Rangers (BetFred) Pre-Match: "There is a different mentality to last season because this is a completely new season," he said. "Rangers are a different team, we are a different team.  We have lost one or two players from last year, we have one or two in to help us, so it is completely different. There is no point in looking back to last year and we will see what happens on Sunday. If you want to do well in the cup competitions, you have to beat whoever is put in front of you. We are slowly getting back to the level we were at last season. We have been competitive in all the games and, if we are competitive, we are good enough to win matches against anybody; we have proved that." 

Aug 11th on the Livi Post-Match:  "I've said since January that I'm relatively happy with the players I've got in the building, If we can find one or two players that can improve the group we will try and bring them in. It's a difficult market when you've got no money, it's the loan market and free transfers we are looking for.  We keep looking, we keep trying and we keep inviting people up to spend a couple of days training with us. If they come great, if they don't come it's also fine."  - Match Recap -

Aug 10th on the Livi Pre-Match: "I think it will be one of our most difficult games of the season, Livingston's first game back in the Premiership, in front of their own crowd, on a new surface, they will want to start really well. They will gloss over their defeat at Celtic Park last week because they will expect most clubs to lose at Celtic Park this season, so they will be looking to get their season up and running this weekend."
On Lee Erwin's potential departure from the club: "It is a large wage increase for him and if everything goes the way we think it will go, he will leave us and go to Iran. He started the last game for us and I think three of the four League Cup games so he was in the plans for the season. It is football, the way it is. I am not going to stand in the way of someone who wants to leave the club because they have been offered a really good contract somewhere else. "So we have to deal with that and look to find a replacement if I can but I think I have replacements in the building. Greg Kiltie, not on the pitch last week, can play that position, Mikael Ndjoli, Eamonn Brophy can play as a second striker so we have plenty of cover in the building."

Aug 4th on the Saints Post-Match:  "Jordan started well in the second half with one good dribble and he’s a confidence player. His confidence came back very quickly and he was one of a number of good performances. Mikael is a goalscorer and he’s shown that albeit at a different level. We’re happy to have him here and he gives us something a little bit different. Somebody asked me a few weeks ago if we had enough options to score goals and I think we have.  I think you saw our forward power. I didn’t even get Greg Kiltie on the pitch today so we’ve got good forward options. For the club these records (winning first opening day fixture in 9 years) are meant to be open. We’re not here to set records, we’re here to win football matches. We wanted to have a good start today and we’ve done that. Feet back on the ground, back in training tomorrow and get ready for another difficult game away at Livingston next weekend." 
On Stuart Findlay: ....  "Stuart is still getting one or two little headaches so we’re not taking a risk on him. Kirk and Scott Boyd did so well today which is pleasing and means we don’t need to rush Stuart back."  - Match Recap -

July 28th on the Spiders Post-Match:   - Match Recap -

July 24th on the Spartans Post-Match:  "I thought we were professional from start to finish and we got the goals eventually. We created chances especially early on in the first half and their goalkeeper made some good saves and they had some good blocks. Patience and a little bit of quality got us the win that we wanted. "Credit to Spartans, they were set up really well and defended the spaces well. They didn’t allow us to get behind them too often in the first half, which is why I made the change at half time. Stephen O’Donnell gives us a little bit more width on the right. Ross Millen had done well but he’s more a defensive full-back than an attacking full-back so having been a full-back myself I knew what was required and thankfully it paid off.  They took St Mirren to penalties tonight. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it is a strange competition.   We’ve won twice and drawn one and St Mirren haven’t won a game and they have six points. We have to make sure on Saturday that we finish the job we started at home. Queen’s Park will get the full respect, the same as Spartans got tonight as you saw with the team I put on the park. Kris is the type of centre forward who can play with anybody.  Whoever plays with Kris, he normally let them know what to do and where to run. It was good to see Lee and Kris, they combined well at times. It was nice for Lee to get a goal and the first goal was really important for us as well.  He came off the bench and made an impact. Obviously, the game was more open at that stage and Spartans had tired a bit and I thought there might be a few chances towards the end and Mikael has shown, albeit at lower levels, that he’s a goalscorer and he showed that again today."  - Match Recap -

July 21st on the Sons Post-Match: “I expected him (Boyd) to score when he went on to the pitch, but I didn’t expect three. If you put quality deliveries into the box then Kris will always be a goal threat. I thought he would help us when he went on and that is the way it transpired.”
 “The boys (Greg Taylor and Stuart Findlay) are both very sore. The next time they will maybe give each other a shout. It was quite a sickening thud, but thankfully they are both ok. Stuart’s eye swelled up and closed so there was no way he could carry on. Greg wanted to stay on the pitch, but the doctor said his cut was too big. But, there is no concussion and if they are fit to play on Tuesday night they will play.” Match Recap

July 13th on the Buddies (League Cup) Post-Match:  "We are still a long way away from the start of the Scottish Premiership, which is our main target to be physically ready for, We lost the penalty shoot-out and made the group a little bit more difficult. We need to make sure we win the next three games to get ourselves 10 points which should be enough to take us through to the next round. That's the immediate objective. For the ones who played 90 minutes it was a great workout. We'll give them a couple of days off now, which they deserve because they haven't had any time off in the last three weeks so that's a long shift. I thought we finished the game strongly so that's pleasing to see. We were fortunate there were no big injuries and I look forward to another hard week's training next week.  We go to Dumbarton knowing we need to make sure we win the next three games."  Match Recap

July 5th on Signing a New Improved Contract:  "The club approached me at the end of last season and I have a good relationship with the people above me. I think the relationship is strong.  I was very grateful and pleased that they came to me and offered me a new, improved contract. It tells you that you've done a good job and it shows they have a little bit of faith in you.  It is easy to sign the contract and easy to take the rewards but the hard bit is that I need to repay that faith by doing more good work for the club and hopefully we can do that this season. I'm enjoying the job and I enjoy going to my work day in, day out and when you get that job satisfaction it is great."

July 5th on the BetFred Lge Cup Setup: “It’s really disruptive for a manager going into competitive games so quickly. I find it a really strange set-up. Obviously it’s organised by someone who doesn’t know that much about football because you should be able to structure your pre-season so you can gradually introduce your players to matches. You can use them for 45 minutes or 60 minutes, you can utilise your whole squad. Obviously you can’t do that in competitive matches because you can only make three changes. It also seems a bit strange the two Premiership teams have to play the first game. We’ll probably be a little bit undercooked for the game and St Mirren will be similar. But that’s not to say we won’t be trying to win it because we will.”

July 4th on the Season Ahead: “It’s good that supporters, the board and all those people can dream about it. As manager it’s important that I keep a sense of reality and perspective in our group,” Clarke said of some of the headlines during the summer break.  We’ll be focused on what we know we can do and what we’re trying to do.  For supporters to dream and enjoy is why you have good moments in football. You suffer in the bad moments so you have to enjoy your good moments. From last season to the start of this season, the Kilmarnock fans have been able to dream and think a bit about what their team might and might not do. But for us we have to go out and do it again next season but because you were good last season doesn’t mean you’re going to be good this season. With humility and respect for everybody we’ll go out and try and be as good as we can be. There are no targets, I didn’t set any last year. My first target was to get away from the relegation zone and make sure we were safe and we did that, comfortably. We managed to push on and had a decent finish. My only target will be to stay competitive, to pick up enough points and be far enough from the bottom of the table that we can look above us. Until you start playing and picking up points there are no targets. It could be that this season you finish seventh or eighth and it could be just as good a season as last season because you don’t know how the league will pan out. It’s always wrong to set unrealistic targets so it’s better you don’t set any targets. The target is to be competitive in every match we play and to pick up as many points as we can. Scottish football is on an upward curve. I think it’s been on the up for a little while now. It’s good to see that people are attracted to the game again. There are a lot of good managers in Scotland. It’s about your team and players, so hopefully we can attract one or two better players to improve our squad. : “I would like to think that the way we finished last season, the feelgood factor would still be around the club and we could get some decent gates at the start of the season. Hopefully we’ll see a big crowd against St Johnstone and we’re responsible for it. If we play well and get results thern the supporters will come. They showed us that last season and it’s up to us to keep them coming and get them onside.”

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